In this edition of Custom Corner with Jeff he shares how a family’s memories and legacy were passed along through custom jewelry as part of wedding jewelry. And how a decade later the story continued.
When I was first starting out in my career as a goldsmith & jewelry designer I would often seek the counsel of my industry “elders”. I had a particularly comical discussion with one of them that has always stuck with me. He said something like “Jeffrey, I could have made a lot more money being a lawyer. Lawyers get paid a heck of a lot to make sure you get the most from, or lose the least to, your spouse in a divorce. BUT, in the end, I have been much happier helping people celebrate the beginning of love rather than the end of it.” It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. As I have matured in this industry, I have learned the truth in those words. I have also learned that there is much more to what I do than celebrating the beginning of love. The custom jewelry I create is given in celebration of anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations. It is often a part of celebrating a new chapter, reaching a milestone, or achieving a goal. I have crafted pieces to celebrate everything from the beginning of love and life … to the end.
Through it all, aside from the jewelry, I have discovered that the most rewarding things I have created are the relationships that have developed with our clients. It is an honour and a pleasure to serve them.
Years ago, I was commissioned by a young couple who wanted something special made as gifts for the groomsmen at their wedding. Our custom design projects typically start with an initial consultation. During that consultation the groom shared a story about his childhood and his relationship with his father. Because some of his brothers were groomsmen he wanted to try and incorporate something about this story into cufflinks for men, custom-made sterling silver and enamel cufflinks to be precise. He asked me if I had read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and when I replied I had, he went on to tell me all about the wonderful train travel adventures he had been on with his father. Traveling across the country for business, his Dad would bring him and his siblings along for the ride on the via train. He shared all kinds of wonderful details about these epic trips but when he described the “panorama car” I knew we were onto something. It sounded like there was a certain type of magic there in that car. You could see the majestic landscape as it swiftly passed by, of course, but it seemed as if you could also see through the past and into the future peering through those 360° windows. Seated in the present, seeing the past, and looking ahead to the future…it was the perfect symbol to share with his groomsmen. Having known the couple for years, they were now standing in the present participating in their wedding and bearing witness to a commitment meant to last the rest of their days. Amazing!
Cufflinks for groomsmen inspired by an iconic Canadian train car and designed to represent the wonderful journey, the seat each of them occupied on this metaphorical train. After all, life is a journey not a destination.
Over the years that same couple have enjoyed a wonderful life together. They have brought new lives into the world. They have enjoyed tremendous success in many areas of their lives together. Along the way I have been delighted to help them care for and service their jewelry. I have enjoyed the honour of helping them create custom jewelry to celebrate births, birthdays, and anniversaries. Most recently, they came back to me with a request that was both new … and old. Having enjoyed his silver cufflinks for a decade, he decided it was time to craft a more mature pair in white gold. Slightly larger, blue enamelled cufflinks instead of the original black. Like the original pairs created for him and his groomsmen they captured the same spirit of adventure.
What I LOVED even more was the request from his wife to craft a pearl clasp with the same “Panorama Car” design element. She had been on this magnificent journey too and wanted to share in this wonderful family legacy by having something special created for herself. Her pearl strand and clasp (pictured) was also crafted in white gold but used blue sapphire and diamond in the windows rather than the enamel that played that role in the cufflinks.
Of all the stories, all the couples, and all the projects I have crafted over the years for some reason this one has always stayed in my head and heart. I have somehow likened these panorama projects to my industry elder’s words and being “much happier helping people celebrate the beginning of love rather than the end of it”. It is a gift. I get to watch a lot of journeys start. Each time I play some kind of role at the beginning I get to share in the adventure and excitement. And, when that train leaves the station I always say a little prayer for a safe journey. If and when those trains come back to our station years later it reminds me of how magnificent this wonderful journey we call life really is.
Whatever you do, wherever you are I pray that you are able to see the magic and magnificence of the journey you are on. There are always hills, valleys, twists and turns, but you are the only you that has ever, and will ever, exist. And your journey is a gift from start to finish!